St Anthony Church
The church (bazil) of St Anthony (in Bulgarian - tsarkva "Sveti Antoniy") is situated close to the center of Melnik in its north-eastern part.
The church is a national cultural monument and is a part of cultural and historical reserve "Melnik". It was built in 1765.
It was considered that the patron of the church - St Anthony - healed mentally ill people. A trunk with iron chains for binding violent sick persons is still preserved in the church which proves that in former times insane persons were treated here. In the center of the temple there is a special slab with the double-headed eagle of the Patriarchate. Such plates were located only in the places where medicinal properties are especially strong.
The whole church is painted with flowers, bouquets, cherubs, seraphs, angels. The iconostasis, the icons (especially the "Mother of God" and the "St Mother of God More Honorable than the Cherubim" of the 18-th century) as well as the murals are of an exceptional value.
Melnik is famous for its incredible red wine from Shiroka Melnishka. This is an old red grape variety that can grow only in southwestern Bulgaria near Melnik, Sandanski and Petrich in the valley of the Struma River. All attempts of it to be moved to other regions of Bulgaria or abroad were unsuccessful. This makes it a unique variety.